Lands minister Judith Nabakooba has warned police in Mityana District against aiding land disputes in the area, something she said has fueled the many wrangles in the area.
This comes at the backdrop of police officers from Busunju Police station that allegedly aided gangs who ascended on land measuring more than 9 acres at Kawoomya village in Busunju Town Council, Mityana District and destroyed a banana plantation, maize and cassava.
The furious minister who was in the area on October 30 gave the Mityana District Police Commander (DPC) one week to make investigations and submit a report over the issue.
According to Nabakooba, the police’s act of helping goons to destroy people’s food is ruining trust and imposing a bad image on the government.
“If you have started destroying people’s food instead of doing your primary role of keeping peace and order then where should the public go to seek help? I want the Officer in Charge of the Criminal Investigations Department and the District Police Commander to give me a report on this matter,” She directed before ordering for the prosecution of whoever was involved in the activity.
She added: “I want this case to be a test case and whoever is involved must be prosecuted. This impunity is not going to continue. You may think that you are aiding people to commit crime, but you do not know what is happening to people elsewhere in your area. We cannot allow impunity to take over this country.”
Ms Nabakooba asked the DPC to take action immediately. “We know that you are the people who are supposed to protect the interests of people, and interests of the government.”
The contested land belonged to Kikere Mukuye, who passed away a few years ago and the remaining relatives headed by the heir only identified as Mubiru started terrorizing the widow.
Ms Grace Nassozi, one of the victims said gangs with machetes raided the land where they have their food and destroyed the whole garden. She pleaded to the government to give them food relief to feed their children.
“We ask the government to give us maize flour and beans to feed our families because we are now stuck,” she cried out.
Mr Dan Kizza revealed that after the death of Mukuye, the initial owner of the estate, the heir connived with the grandchildren and sold the land to a yet to be identified person without their notice.
“That is a family land and none of the family members was informed when the heir was selling it, only to see some grandchildren and Mubiru, coming with a group of more than 20 people with pangas to destroy our food,” he shared.
Lawrence Ddumba, a tenant with a tomato plantation on the land in question said the family land conflicts have incurred them losses since his banana plantation was also cut.
The minister also toured the land at St Paul Kibubula Catholic Sub-Parish where church land was sold off by Mary Nakyazze to other people.
According to Fr Emmanuel Kiyemba, the Busunju Catholic Parish Priest, the church received 10 acres of land in 1924 from the late Kivebulaya Musoke and they were surprised to see Nakyazze, the daughter of Kivebulaya in 2016 selling off the land.
Fr Kiyemba further shared that the same person came back and took away more five acres and the church was left with only one acre which prompted him to close the church last year in July to first handle the land matters.
“What annoyed me is the same people continuing to provoke us by burying people on the remaining acre of land without informing us,” he shared, blaming the land grabbing on local leaders who are greedy for money and end up signing documents without consulting the owners.
Fr Kiyemba asked the minister to rescue them from the situation so that they can get back their land for the planned developments such as constructing a school and a health facility which were the initial plans of the donor.